Comment

It’s time for Gove to go

Stories surrounding Michael Gove have recently been dominating headlines. In particular, the debate started by the Secretary of State for Education over an online teaching plan suggesting the use of Mr Men characters to teach the history of the Third Reich. This, however, is perhaps a fitting topic given that Mr Gove is currently acting like a toxic mixture of Mr Nonsense, Mr Rude and Mr Wrong all wrapped up in one. Whilst the shrivelled eyed Tory loons living in their alternate Daily Mail tinted world see Gove as a potential ‘real conservative’ leadership successor to David Cameron, back in the real world he has been nothing short of an abhorrent menace that has got to go.

gove

Photo: Flikr (Cabinet Office)

With his bumbling ways, he has overwhelmingly lost the confidence of the entire teaching profession. Even the National Association of Head Teachers, which is hardly the most radical group, has now unanimously condemned the climate of bullying, fear and intimidation that has been created under Gove’s watch. Ofsted has become an over-zealous inspectorate which has created a system of constant self-evaluation that takes away from actually teaching. It has also caused the destruction of any good will from the staff that schools rely on to run efficiently and offer extra-curricular activates. Gove claimed that he would remove the exam driven nature of education. This has not happened of course and now it is not only the students who are burdened with a massive examination regime, so are the teachers.

The Ofsted guidelines dictate a certain style of teaching that robs teachers of their own intuition of how to best teach their students. He has created a system of teaching by numbers which is causing an exodus of experience and expertise. No group of professional people has been so routinely berated, undermined and treated with such lack of regard as the teaching profession has under this current Education Secretary. It is no wonder reported stress levels have sky rocketed and many experience teachers are leaving the profession which will only hurt the quality of the system.

It is not just the crisis caused by Mr Gove in the teaching profession that is reason to call for his departure. His series of rash and ideological reforms will scar the integrity of the public education system for generations. His proposed new national curriculum will constrict the range of education received in the nation’s schools. His curriculum has been condemned by educationalists, teachers and historians alike. The removal of climate change absolutely beggars belief. Not only that, he – with his bulldozer implementation of academies and free schools – has paved the way for future privatization. The idea of people profiteering from our education system is sickening and must be stopped before it can take root which fits Gove’s ideological ambitions.

Why, it’s hardly unusual to see a comment piece in a student newspaper calling for the dismissal of an education secretary, this case merits special attention. After all, we are not talking about small changes here, this is a mini one man revolution – and the worst part of this is that it is the students that are going to suffer from Gove’s incompetence. They are not going to benefit from stress, over worked and over examined teachers, they are not going to benefit from experienced teachers leaving their profession, they are not going to benefit from a narrowing curriculum and they certainly are not going to benefit from the creation of academies and the involvement of the private sector in running schools. The sooner Gove is gone the better.

16/06/2013

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Harry Edwards


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